Hayden Panettiere has radiant skin that looks lit from within. But that’s not all she’s got going on: The star of TV’s Nashville has a phenomenal set of pipes, a hunger for excitement, and a soft spot for giant sea creatures. She talks with WH about what makes her feel beautiful–inside and out.
Hayden Panettiere has the kind of face you can’t stop staring at. She’s a knockout–sparkly green eyes, gleaming white teeth, a flawless complexion. And then there’s the shiny, cascading blonde hair. Mercifully, she is polite enough not to acknowledge the gawking.
Despite the fact that she woke up at 5 a.m. to fly to L.A. from Nashville (where she’s filming ABC’s upcoming country-music drama, aptly named Nashville), she’s warm and energetic, practically jogging to the kitchen to fetch bottles of water. Once we’re chatting, it’s clear that perfection isn’t something Hayden, 23, has a lock on–in fact, she just aspires to be a little better every day like the rest of womankind. She’s had to grapple with her own insecurities, and she tries to eat healthfully but doesn’t “go crazy over it” (“I mean, you gotta eat,” she explains).
And she’s working on the inside as much as the outside. “People can tell when you’re happy with being you and when you’re not. It’s only cheesy because it’s true,” she says. “As I’ve gotten older and grown into my body, I’ve started realizing that the way you carry yourself and that light coming out of your eyes are the most attractive things about you.”
Agreed. But back to that glowing skin and silky hair! Details, please. Hayden–whose best friend, makeup artist Amy Oresman, not only taught her the importance of individual fake lashes but also “half raised me,” she says–graciously obliges. A few of her signature beauty tips, right here.
Her Gorgeous Natural Makeup
The single most important item: Bronzer. To create her no-effort radiance, Hayden depends on the stuff. “I put bronzer around my face and in my hairline. I also use it as eye shadow. It gives the perfect contour in the crease and under the lash line.” Finally, she dusts it over her neck and chest “to give it an even glow.” This chick really loves bronzer. “It’s brightening,” she explains. Her fave is (1) Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush & Bronzer in Natural Glow by Neutrogena (Hayden is a spokesperson for the brand).
Liner philosophy: Though Hayden appreciates the intensity of liquid liner, she’s seen “some disasters.” She suggests using kohl pencils and getting away from basic black. “Try maroon, deep purple, brown. Use a brush with an eraser-shaped tip to blend everything out so you don’t have a hard line.”
Her favorite multitasker: Tinted lip balm. Specifically, Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm in Sunny Berry. She swipes it onto her mouth—”It gives you great bee-stung lips,” she says—and also her cheeks. “These little purses we have, they’re so small you can barely fit your credit card in there. You can put this in your purse and not have to carry around a blush and a blush brush.”
And when you want to amp it up: Go dramatic on just one feature. “You wouldn’t wear baggy clothes on top and baggy on the bottom,” she says. “If I do smoky eyes, I go for soft pink lips.” For the red carpet, she loves a shiny wine-colored mouth (created with brick lip liner and berry gloss) paired with nude eye shadow.
Her Lush Hair
Shower power: Hayden alternates shampoos. “My hair is on the dry side, so I use a creamy moisturizing shampoo for daily use.” Once a week, she switches to an anti-residue formula. “When you are on set working, your hair goes through a lot of styling stress and there’s a ton of hair spray, so I use this to keep my hair soft and protect it from breaking.”
Growth potential: A few years back, Hayden chopped her signature flowing mane short. “It’s finally getting long again,” she says, rejoicing. Her plan for keeping it healthy as it grows? “Constant trims.”
Fighting the frizz: Hayden laughs about how she loves Nashville but her naturally curly hair hates it. She combats the humidity’s effects by coating her just-washed strands with leave-in conditioner.
Thirty seconds to sexy hair: “I just pull it up and twist it, like a twisted bun.” Then she adds a real flower or a small flower hair clip.
Her Ethereal Skin
She always. . . takes off her makeup before bed. “Always, always, always,” Hayden insists, shaking her head like a girl who has learned the hard way. For those prone to the but-I’m-too-tireds, Hayden offers this no-excuses strategy: Hide makeup-removing wipes all over your house! Hers are in her purse, behind pillows, and in her nightstand.
She never. . . skimps on sunscreen. “I learned you can be using an SPF 50 sunscreen, but if you’re applying only a small amount you could be getting less-than-20 coverage. So you have to apply it continually and generously.”
Worth the splurge? Facials. “A deep cleaning is important to clear out pores. Especially in Nashville, where we are sweating all the time, and especially with all the makeup we wear.” Her go-to spa: Thibiant Beverly Hills.
Hydration, two ways: She drinks “tons” of water. . .and applies moisture too: “At night, I like to give my skin a big drink, so I use Ultra Gentle Soothing Cream by Neutrogena all over my face, neck, and hands.”
Her Rockin’ Bod
The creative way she works out: “My best friend, Amy, has an elevator phobia, so we always take the stairs.” Lots and lots of stairs. “We will walk 12 flights. It’s less embarrassing than getting into an elevator with her,” says Hayden.
Nutritious snack: Smoothies with almond milk, whey protein, and a banana.
How she detoxes her body and mind: Bikram yoga. With 26 poses and 105°F heat, “it can be tough, but you’re sweating out toxins and water weight.”
Smart bargain: “Eating healthy is a constant battle,” says Hayden. “I love chips.” But instead of just diving into a bag, she makes a deal with herself: She eats something healthy first, telling herself she can have whatever she wants afterward. “Then I don’t want the unhealthy thing so much, because I’m full.”
Strength-training strategy: Because she’s petite, Hayden has to be careful not to put on too much muscle, which might overwhelm her 5’1″ frame. So she sticks with weights that allow her to crank out a high number of reps.
Why she counts blessings, not calories: Feeling good about herself and eating the foods she loves—raspberries and strawberries, vegetables, egg whites, and yes, sometimes salty, crunchy stuff—is a better use of her time than thinking about every single thing she puts into her mouth. “I find when I’m overly concerned about what I eat, I stress out my body and put on weight.”
And a Few Bits of Inner-Beauty Wisdom. . .
Forget the haters. When Hayden was 16, a magazine published a photo of her backside in jean shorts, along with the word cellulite. “I was mortified,” she says. “It gave me such body dysmorphia for so long. But I remember reminding myself that beauty is an opinion, not a fact. And it has always made me feel better.”
Embrace the unknown. As a kid, Hayden found the ocean scary. Today, she dives with humpback whales. “When you’re there and you’re in it, it’s less intimidating.”
Focus your efforts. Hayden has volunteered with many charitable organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Autism Speaks. But her main work is with the Whaleman Foundation. “I like to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to a cause so that I have more impact. My goal is to shed light on the beauty of the ocean and how important it is for our planet.”